thumbs_en-DIabstract_730969781Iran: Activists in Iran are appealing for the human rights of LGBT people and urging the Islamic government stop its policy of forced sex-change surgery of gay people.

“Authorities take pride in the medical provisions for gender reassignment surgeries and reparative procedures, while the very medical experts involved with the system admit to procedures involving misinformation and malpractice, said Shadi Amin, coordinator of the Iranian lesbian and transgender network 6Rang, according to

This has harmed “thousands of citizens whose identity and inalienable rights hinge on forced policies and procedures,” said Amin whose 6Rang and Justice for Iran launched a “No to Forced Sex Change” campaign June 26, 2014.

The two NGOs are fighting for access to human rights for all citizens living under the Islamic Republic of Iran and have published “Pathologizing Identities, Paralyzing Bodies,” a report documenting human rights violations against gay, lesbian and transgender people in Iran.

“For more than three decades now, the Iranian LGBT community have suffered horrific violations of their rights in silence, even losing their lives, all because of their sexual identity,” said Amin.

“We hope to draw greater attention to the plight of an entire community in desperate need of getting out of a closet that has been locked up in their faces unless their bodies are torn away by doctors who fail to recognize their inherent dignity,” he added.

The report documents in-depth interviews with more than 80 lesbian, transgender and gay Iranians and illustrates how the Iranian government  policies on forced sex change and criminalization of same-sex leave LGBT citizens with no choice but to undergo unnecessary, and often uninformed reassignment surgeries, in order to access their most basic rights.

It also documents cases involving humiliation, abuse and torture of LGBT citizens at the hands of governmental and medical authorities.

Iran’s coercive advocacy of sex-change surgery for LGBT people has become a growing problem in recent years, says 6Rang.

Dr. Soudabeh Oskouyee, a general surgeon in the field of sex reassignment surgeries, states that since 2001, she has performed between 30 and 40 surgeries every month.

Sex changes have been legal in Iran since Ayatollah Khomeini, the spiritual leader of the 1979 Islamic revolution, passed a fatwa – a religious edict – authorizing them for ‘diagnosed transsexuals’ 25 years ago.

Consequently, Iran has the highest amount of gender reassignment surgery carried out anywhere, except Thailand. Medical records show that between 2006 to 2010 there were 1,366 Iranians who acquired permits for a sex change operation.

The concern is that many LGBT individuals are unnecessarily encouraged to undergo sex reassignment surgery because same-sex relation are crime punishable by imprisonment and execution. Gay men have faced stricter enforcement under the law than lesbians.